The tennis authorities have been warned that they risk losing officials at every level of their sport if they do not display coordinated support for the umpire on the receiving end of Serena Williams’ verbal volley. Dr Tom Webb co-ordinates a global network of research into referees and match officials, and says that the ultimate consequence of not adequately backing officials is that sports will simply struggle to find people willing to fulfil this role. Dr Webb’s research also points to a clear link, in the opinion of match officials, between abusive behaviour at the elite level and the grassroots.